New paper examines impacts of salinization on the geochemistry and mixing intensity of an urban lake

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

A new paper published in the journal Applied Geochemistry relates data on lake water chemistry to land cover changes and road salt applications for Lake Wilcox located in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. The paper is co -authored by ERG members Jovana Radosavljevic, Stephanie Slowinski, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Mahyar Shafii and Philippe Van Cappellen, alongside co-author Bahram Gharabaghi.

The results show that increasing road salt applications in the urbanizing watershed over the past 20 years has shifted the receiving lake’s water chemistry type from the mixed SO42–-Cl-Ca2+-Mg2+ type to the Na+-Cl- type while also strengthening and lengthening the lake’s summer stratification. The latter has been extending the period of hypoxia, which in turn promotes the remobilization of nutrient phosphorus from the bottom sediments. The study also includes estimating the salinity threshold and future timing at which point lake mixing would cease further deteriorating the lake’s ecosystem health. Overall, the results call for continued research on salt legacies in urbanizing watersheds and their long-term implications for freshwater ecosystems and regional groundwater resources.

The published paper is open access and can be found online:

Paper reference:

Radosavljevic J.Slowinski S.Rezanezhad F.Shafii M., Gharabaghi B. and Van Cappellen P. (2024) Road salt-induced salinization impacts water geochemistry and mixing regime of a Canadian urban lake. Applied Geochemistry 162, 105928.